CO2-energy / climate justice contention on Indigenously-backed fossil fuel projects

My PhD dissertation highlights the distinction between the CO2-energy and climate justice worldviews in climate change organizing.

Put briefly:

[C]limate justice (CJ) activists emphasized the linkages between climate change and other justice issues in both diagnosing the causes of climate change and in crafting their political strategy to control it, insisting that only revolutionary political and economic changes like the overthrow of capitalism will let humanity preserve a stable climate. This analysis and prescription is challenged by CO2-energy (CO2-e) activists who see climate change as fundamentally about fossil fuel energy, with a solution that lies in replacing coal, oil, and gas.

One area where the two viewpoints can be clearly distinguished is how to respond to Indigenously-backed fossil fuel energy projects. The climate justice viewpoint holds that environmentalists should be led by and not criticize Indigenous peoples. For them, if the Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it community in BC wants to build a coal mine, it is at least much harder to oppose while maintaining their values than the same project proposed by someone else. For CO2-e activists, it is about the fuel to be burned and not the identity of those benefitting, and so it is unproblematic to resist fossil fuel projects regardless of their backers.


Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

4 thoughts on “CO2-energy / climate justice contention on Indigenously-backed fossil fuel projects”

  1. In the upcoming election cycle, no member of the trio stands to benefit more than Peltola, the first Alaska Native to represent the state who won a special election last summer to succeed late-Republican Rep. Don Young.

    Peltola, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee alongside Huffman, was just added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s list of most vulnerable incumbents for 2024.

    “Getting Willow across the finish line is something I campaigned very hard on,” she said Monday. “I knew this had to be a priority of anybody who was the position I’m in.

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